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Aloha,

This is an incredibly stressful time and we know of the challenges our nā ʻohana is facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. ACH- would like to provide experts in the community as a valued resource so that questions and concerns in topics such as parenting , child development, behavioral concerns, trauma or advice in coping COVID-19 can be safely addressed. No one will be judged, no question will be scrutinized, we are all here for one another.

It is ACHʻs pleasure to have Shannon Flynn as our first community expert. Please feel free to post your questions/concerns/wonders and Shannon (and others who would like to chime in) will answer in the comment section below. Here is Shannonʻs bio:

Shannon Flynn, MSW, LCSW, RPT-S is a Behavioral Health Supervisor for Nā Kula Kamaliʻi ʻO Kamehameha (Kamehameha Schools Preschools) and also does some private practice work on Oahu providing individual and family therapy. Shannon specializes in early childhood, trauma, and play therapy. She has experience working in various areas of mental health, therapeutic foster care and adoption, residential treatment centers, day school programs, and school-based services. Shannon has worked with a wide range of ages and populations throughout her career, including high risk clients, developmentally disabled individuals and juvenile delinquents. She has much training in the area of Trauma Informend Care, Play Therapy, Animal Assisted Play Therapy, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and working with clients who have experienced trauma.

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Last edited by Daniel Goya
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Aloha Shannon,

I work with family child care providers who provider care to children ages 0-5. Here is a question from one of our providers: "I have a new student who is 4 years. He has moved from CA with only dad. He's been showing anger. He kicked me, hit me, screams at me when I try to redirect him. I have spoken to his dad. Dad is going to get him some counseling. I know the counseling is going to take some tine to get and to help. What can I do NOW? The smaller keiki are clinging to me more now."

Aloha Jamie, 

Mahalo for asking a good question. You are right that counseling is going to take some time. Iʻm glad to hear the father is going to get counseling for this keiki. It sounds like the keiki has experienced a lot of changes recently. Moving in and of itself can be challenging for anyone, especially young keiki.

Iʻd suggest trying to provide as much structure, routine and consistency as possible and suggesting that the father and child care providers do the same. Predictability and consistency in schedules and routines are important at a young age and when other changes are occurring.

Work on helping the keiki build emotional literacy and understanding. Try to help him recognize what is making him angry and try to catch the earliest signs of anger presenting. Try to help establish safety for the keiki and remind him that he is safe. This can be done through finding calming items that can help him such as stuffed animal, stress ball, sensory items, etc. I like to use a safe place script by Conscious Discipline that states "this is a safe place and I wonʻt let anyone hurt you so I canʻt let you hurt anyone else because this is a safe place." 

When keiki is calm try to process what occurred at an age appropriate level and help him identify better choices for next time. Also, practice the choice that he can make next time as this will help to rewire his brain into making more pono choices in the future. 

Hope this helps! Mahalo!

Shannon

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